A story about public attitudes and personal choices
Today we celebrated the first anniversary of “House of Opportunity” Varna observed home. This is the latest fifth house that the “Foundation for Social Change and Inclusion” has opened as part of its programme for young people, grown up without parental care.
As the other four, the observed home offers more than housing tp the adolescents. The appartment provides crucial support in finding and keeping an appropriate job, building a healthy social environment, gaining essential social, domestic and work skills, that the young people haven’t been able to develop at the institution for children.
Here is what Boryana Madzhova, the coordinator of the “House of Opportunity” programme at FSCI shares about her work with the young people, the goal of the programme and the feeling of being part of the positive change for tens of young people, leaving social institutions every year.
“A year ago we opened “House of Opportunity” Varna. This was another serious challenge for the foundation in its noble cause for equal and dignified life for young people, leaving institutions for children deprived of parental care or foster care. The “House” gave a new chance to some of the hundreds of disadvantaged young people to take their life in their own hands and to grow up as contributing individuals and citizens.
The efforts of the team for prevention of social exclusion and involvement in different criminal structures have always been in the focus of our work.
Thus far, 12 young people have gone through “House of Opportunity” Varna and at the moment 5 of them continue developing their social and work skills under the roof of the observed home.
Apart from having an expert approach, the FSCI family and the teams working directly with the young people also put heart and soul into their work. They go together with the young people through their daily challenges of patience, through change, happiness and disappointments. Together we all continue learning to listen, to understand, to accept the others the way that they are.
We encounter difficulties on many levels – finding acceptance and understanding from the neighbours, patience from the employers, finishing education. What proves to be a serious challenge for us once more, is confronting the public attitudes and raising the sensitivity of the people around us towards the problems of the young people in the programme. There are also financial challenges, since the foundation relies entirely on support from partners and individuals for its financing.
We receive support from the local social structures and the help of employers and (un)ordinary people who reach out to us, ready to get involved in our cause depending on their own availabilities and understanding– with job offers, donations, but above all with empathy and acceptance.
However, the good results and the positive stories and cases are worth the worries and the efforts. I think that it is exactly here where the key for success is hidden in this work – in perceiving even the smallest things as accomplishments and in making young people believe in themselves and continue walking their path towards their better future.
Because this work is a mission and the boys and girls, who have grown up without the warmth of a real home or without parental love and support deserve to be given trust and a chance. Because the way public attitudes portray the young people is not a result of the young people’s personal choice, but a consequence of circumstances which don’t depend on them. This is something that we should all comprehend.
You can find more about the “House of Opportunity” programme here .